High Commissioner of India to the Maldives Munu Mahawar has stated India's development partnership with the Maldives is based on the principle of transparency. He made the remarks in a written interview with Local News on the occasion of India's 73rd Republic Day.
In the interview, High Commissioner Mahawar said the economic ties between India and the Maldives have strengthened in the last three years, with India collaborating on large infrastructure projects, such as the Greater Male Connectivity Project as well as smaller high impact community development projects. The high commissioner said India has committed about USD 1.3 billion in concessional project finances in the Maldives, which includes Lines of Credit (LoC) for several infrastructure projects. He noted the LoC is extended at an extremely concessional and subsidised rate of interest of 1.75% and that the financial implication of the difference in the market rate and the offered rate is borne by the Government of India. He added the LoC also comes with a five-year grace period and a total repayment period of 20 years.
Furthermore, High Commissioner Muhawar said the defense and security partnership between India and the Maldives is focused on capacity building through equipment, training, and exercises. The high commissioner highlighted that the two countries share common challenges, as the region faces multiple security challenges of terrorism, drug trafficking, and illegal fishing. He said these security challenges are transnational in nature and can be effectively addressed only through close collaboration among the countries in the region.
Additionally, High Commissioner Muhawar said India was happy to support the vaccination efforts in the Maldives, facilitate the travel of Maldivians to India for medical treatment, and also work with the Government of the Maldives in addressing the economic challenges. He also expressed gratitude on behalf of India to the Maldivian government for taking good care of the Indian nationals residing and working in the Maldives during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added the Maldives occupies a special place in India's Neighbourhood First policy and that the bilateral relations have expanded and deepened under the leadership of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.